Northeast Texas poetry contest winners announced
Sep 12, 2013 | 1428 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Northeast Texas poetry contest winners announced

The Northeast Texas Community College Honors program recently held the sixth annual Northeast Texas Poetry Contest. The competition was open to both students and the general public. Winning works were presented at a poetry reading in the Whatley Center foyer on Friday, Aug. 30.

Entries could be any style or length, but were asked to focus on some aspect of life in Northeast Texas. Contest judges were Professors Chuck Hamilton, Anna Ingram, and Jim Swann. Cash prizes were provided by Friends of NTCC Honors. The winners were as follows:










Adult Category (non-student or student with more than 50 hours of college credit)

First Place: Karen Sadar Watt of Pittsburg

Second Place: Lauren Shortnacy of Mount Pleasant









Student Category

First Place: Alisha Richardson of Avinger

Second Place: Zachary Davis of Pittsburg

Third Place: Sephanie Peek of Omaha

Fourth Place: Noah Griffin of Pittsburg


The winning poems are included below:


1st Place Adult Winner

Stopped Behind a Chicken Truck on a Humid Evening

(With apologies to Robert Frost)

By: Karen S. Watt

Whose truck this is, I think I know

He’s sold his share in the company, though.

He will not see my car stopped here

As feathers drift around like snow.

My little car’s close to the rear.

I don’t know why I stopped so near

To a Pilgrim’s truck in traffic stalled

Bound for the plant this time of year.

My little Mazda gives a shake

This route might be a big mistake!

The only other sound’s the screech

Of other cars applying breaks.

The truck’s cages are piled up in a heap,

But I have a dinner date to keep,

And fried chicken to eat before I sleep -

And fried chicken to eat before I sleep.


2nd Place Adult Winner

Remember Me

By Lauren Shortnacy

There once was a girl who couldn’t wait to leave the countryside.

To leave the life she knew and go beyond the boundaries

of Northeast Texas.

She dreamed of big towns and city lights

Instead of little creeks and fireflies.

The busyness of the day instead of the slowness of the breeze

and back wood adventures.

She wanted extravagant dinners instead of momma’s cooking

High society parties instead of friends sitting on a tailgate.

She was seeking the nightlife of a celebrity and luxury of a royal,

Not enduring journeys along the back roads.

She wanted the love she adored on the television screen

And not the feeling of finding love along the lakes

within the summer’s breeze.

Although the girl had no regrets with the life she had,

There had to be more glamour than county fairs and rodeos.

So she left.

Left behind all she had known to find comfort in the city life.

She left her bare feet along the gravel roads for high heels

on the dance floor.

Left the long lost secrets of the railroads for the track of a subway.

The skies filled with wishing stars that helped her find her way

when she was afraid of the dark,

Were pushed to the back of her mind and replaced with empty skies and tall buildings.

Her new life was exciting and different but it wasn’t the same.

She couldn’t understand that the feelings and memories of her home

Were all she could think about.

She wanted to feel the sweet dewy grass along her bare feet again.

Embrace the fresh smell of rain and the spring flowers

in her mother’s garden.

To talk amongst the birds chirping in the early morning’s light,

And to sing along with the crickets in the late night hours.

She wanted to go back to everything she had remembered

about her little town,

Everything that had made her the woman she was

in that very moment.

So without reason, and without question,

she set out on another adventure.

An adventure toward the place she had tried so hard to run away from.

While she rode down the long winding road before her, she thought to herself.

Why was it so hard to let go of her hometown?

It wasn’t just because it was where she was born and raised,

But the feeling it gave to anyone and everyone.

It was a small utopia that always welcomed strangers who came upon it.

She liked being a part of a small town without judgment

And how it offered warmth to anyone’s soul.

Through the woods and trees, along the pastures and railroads,

Among the lakes and the creeks,

A soft voice was known to whisper out listening to listening ears…

“You are welcomed here my friend, stay forever

And always remember me.”


1st Place Student Winner

A Fairy-Tale Land in Northeast Texas

By: Alisha Richardson

When I walked around the spring path that circled the pond, I had seen,

a parade of beautifully random wild flowers marching.

The trees were vibrant, arrayed in cloaks of a thousand shades of green.

And the woods, livened by the light of the sun, were singing.


The placid waters of the pond reflected the trees like a looking glass,

their curled and knotted arms reaching out across the smooth surface.

Whatever those arms sought, it seemed to be forever out of their grasp.

But, from her fingertips, mimosa laid blossoms around the pond like a necklace.

The vibrant greens of the leaves died away when autumn arrived.

And the leaves turned wispy, as their softness also died.

No longer the gentle cloaks the trees relished, the leaves were discarded well,

and they flickered goldenly in the sun’s light as, to the pond, they fell.

The golden leaves, with light feet, touched the water and stood, floating.

Then, Wind turned toward the pond and blew his breath upon her, gloating.

For Wind hated calm things like the placid pond, whose name was Water.

He hated Water for he, always blowing, could never rest like her.

Wind’s breath tickled Water’s face and because of it, she stirred and turned.

And the leaves began to spin in circles, as Water’s every movement, they learned.

Even rudely roused, Water’s motion was slow and graceful – Wind’s eternal opposite.

And because of Water, the leaves became lithe fairies dancing with fiery spirit.

The golden fairies danced, following the graceful lead of the water maid,

and Wind fumed, frustrated that his attempt to disturb her had failed.

Then, Wind turned toward the pond and blew his breath upon her, sadly laden.

For Wind, always blowing, loved his eternal opposite: the water maiden.

Leaving Water and Wind to their ways, I came to a grove of pines.

The trees were tall and thick, and some enveloped by thorny vines.

Here, Earth wore a fragrant blanket of pine needles and slept beneath the trees.

And through the peaceful woods came Fire, striding with careless ease.

Fire then sneezed and, catching a great pine ablaze, hastened to put it out.

But the tree fell and woke Earth, and finding it, she gave an angry shout.

As Fire could not douse his own flames, the tree had burned until it fell, wilting.

And Fire, knowing it was not the tree’s time, scratched his head, guilty.

But Earth scooped up a handful of soil and doused the tree, as it was still ablaze,

and Fire, who could only start mores fires, watched her douse one, amazed.

The flames slowly and softly died out beneath Earth’s gentle hand,

and then, on Fire’s own flaming head, Earth rubbed the soil of the land.

Earth smiled playfully, showing him forgiveness for the burned–down tree,

but, Fire only looked away and frowned, crossing his arms indignantly.

Then he realized her hands were still in his flaming hair, seemingly unburned,

and he grabbed them to see if they were hurt, finding himself concerned.

Earth laughed, her voice like leaves in the wind, and pulled her hands free.

“Now, Fire, promise me you will not burn, untimely, even one more tree.”

An intense red came to Fire’s yellow cheeks, as he did not mean to burn the pine,

But he did not defend himself, as he could not always speak to one so divine.

Earth then left him in her pine tree grove, and Fire wordlessly watched her go,

thinking to himself, how long will I love her and how long will she not know?

Leaving Fire and Earth to their ways, I at last returned home, filled with wonder.

This fairy tale land in Northeast Texas, a place I often escape to throughout the year.


2nd Place Student Winner

Sensations of the Sun

By: Zachary Davis

The sun has just recently capped the horizon

And the illuminated shadow of countless clouds dot the sky

They drift aimlessly as the world below them sleeps

Suddenly the silent land bursts to life

A myriad of birds wake, crying out to each other and the world

As if to say the day has begun


A lone buck stands in a field

verdant and sparkling from recent rain

He silently beckons for others to follow

Grasshoppers flee by the hundred

As hooves hit the ground


Small white flowers dot the landscape

sending off wafts of onion

The breeze is warm

As the mahaya sways

In tune with the rhythm of a land

Both changed and preserved by the generations

Who’ve witnessed its beauty


The sun stands at its full height

Beaming down as much heat as light

The humidity rises and shade is sought by most

On the shore of a pond a single frog is croaking

Lamenting the loss of its log to a smug cottonmouth


A great tree, ancient and gnarled

Has at long last lost its struggle with age

And now lays on the ground it once shaded

It’s brothers tall and ringed from the wire they’ve overtaken

Mourn their loss with the creaking groans of age


A single ant marches on; single-minded in its search

Soon the ground will be ablaze with the reds and blacks of its sisters

In a nearby thicket Cicadas can be heard

Their distinct call like humidity given a voice


The day has been long as the sun begins to set

A patchwork of color blankets the sky as dusk creeps in

The land slows and becomes dark

My home grows silent as I close my eyes

preparing myself for when the world once again bursts to life


3rd Place Student Winner



By: Stephanie Peek

Values and virtues and manners are taught,

and love for our neighbor is felt.

Where sermons are heard and churches abound,

in what’s known as the true bible belt.


Where summers are humid, and thick heavy air,

surrounds you as hot as can be,

and gossip is common in the small town cafe,

known for refreshing iced tea.


It’s the place where childhood memories,

are of fishing in still murky ponds,

and the smell of freshly cut grass

from the daily mowing of lawns.


Where we regard heroes as soldiers,

and the American flag is still flown,

with yellow ribbons on oak trees

until they all get home.


Not seeing many places,

or traveling very far,

knowing where you come from

helps make you who you are.


wherever life may take you or

wherever you may roam,

it’s the place you can always come back to,

and the porch light is always left on.


4th Place Student Winner

Morning Glory

By: Noah Griffin

A stream of light, no, a flood

Crawling over the horizon with unyielding resolve

I sit and gaze at the startling beauty before me

I can’t help it, who could refuse such a masterpiece?

The tops of the Texas pines cannot withhold the suns’ majesty

As the celestial relic rises ever higher

The night’s leftover shadows retreat into shade

They slink back mysteriously like a Spider withdrawing into her tunnel of web

As the last of the darkness continues to slither away

My eyes are turned upward to the heavens

The clouds change color as the sun progresses

First blue, then a sudden explosion of red, yellow, and pink

I stare in amazement at the tapestry of color above my head

How can light and water accomplish such art?

It is as if each cloud were a sponge dipped in paint

And then Splattered across the eastern sky

The splendor is breathtaking, but it doesn’t last for long

As the hue of the firmament changes, so does the atmosphere

What started out as a cool and brisk morning has now turned into something else

The sun no longer embraces the horizon, for he hangs aloof in brilliant solace

The clouds no longer shine in color, for they have faded to white

The air has begun to sear and the ground has begun to bake

And so, just as the sun has risen, I too must rise in confidence and glory

So shall I rise


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